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Morning 9: Phil Draculason? | Shackelford: What the governing bodies can’t say | McIlroy #1

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected] and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.
February 11, 2020
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Phil Draculason?
An interesting analogy from John Feinstein amid an excellent piece…”But the fact that Phil was in contention until the closing holes should tell us something: Four months before turning 50, he’s not done. Mickelson is golf’s Dracula-every time you think he’s dead, he rises again. Two weeks ago, he hadn’t been in contention anywhere since winning at Pebble Beach a year earlier. He had played so poorly since Pebble 2019 that in December he failed to make a United States national team (Presidents Cup) for the first time since 1993 and had dropped far enough in the World Ranking that the question of whether he’d be offered or would accept an exemption to play in this year’s U.S. Open was on the table.”
  • “Except for this: Two weeks ago, after skipping the Waste Management Phoenix Open for only the second time in 31 years to take a huge-and controversial-appearance fee to play in Saudi Arabia, Mickelson finished T-3. Then, at Pebble Beach, a place where he has won five times, he lingered just off the lead all week before Taylor’s chip-in birdie at the 15th hole Sunday finally-more or less-put Phil away. Mickelson struggled most of the day in the high winds, shooting a two-over-par 74 to finish five strokes behind Taylor and one behind Streelman-after Phil had tied Taylor for the lead two holes into the final round.”

Full piece.

2. McIlroy back to No. 1 again
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Rory McIlroy has supplanted Brooks Koepka atop the Official World Golf Ranking, and he did so without hitting a shot.”
  • “Both McIlroy and Koepka were idle last week, but because of slight changes to their respective OWGR calculations it’s now McIlroy on top with a 9.19-point average against Koepka’s new average of 9.16. This marks the first time McIlroy has held the top spot since September 2015, and his 53-month gap sets a new record for longest time between a player losing and regaining the No. 1 ranking.”
3. Tour asks for dismissal of Haney case
Mark Schlabach at ESPN…”The PGA Tour’s lawyers have asked a federal judge to dismiss golf instructor Hank Haney’s lawsuit, in which he claims the tour pressured SiriusXM Radio to suspend him and then terminate him from hosting his radio show after his comments about women’s golf last year.”
  • “In a motion filed to U.S. District Court Judge Rodolfo Ruiz on Friday, the PGA Tour’s lawyers wrote that Haney and his attorneys failed to prove that the Tour “unjustifiably interfered with Plaintiffs’ business and/or contractual relationship with Sirius XM” and failed to prove that the decision to fire him was “based on anything other than [the radio network’s] own review of Haney’s racist, xenophobic, and sexist comments about the LPGA and its players.”

Full piece.

4. Next steps? 
Digest’s Dave Shedloski polled the players regarding what next steps ought to be taken in light of the Distance Insights Report…
 
“Many echoed the sentiments of Jason Day, one of the game’s leading long-ball hitters. “I think everyone has to ask themselves is the game of golf in a good spot right now in regards to distance, or do we have to dial it back?” Day then answered his own question: “I don’t know why they would want us to hit it shorter.”
  • “How about because in response to players hitting the ball farther, golf courses are being renovated and lengthened, which means higher maintenance costs, more water usage and rounds of a longer duration?”
  • “But Day’s point has validity as it relates to his job, the PGA Tour, which is in the entertainment business (subset sports). Nothing in golf enthralls a gallery more than pugilism from the tee box…”
  • “If, however, the industry were to attempt to keep distance increases from continuing, among the remedies that tour pros discuss most is limiting the flight of the golf ball.”
5. Shackelford: “What the governing bodies can’t say”
You may disagree with Shackelford’s sentiment about the significance of OEM’s opinions, but you can’t disagree with the raw numbers. Anyway, here’s his take…”Golf is an $84.1 billion industry in America when you factor in everything from courses, to travel to sales, according to We Are Golf.”
“In the United States, the National Golf Foundation puts the manufacturers contribution to that number at $2.6 billion. Frankly, that seems woefully low to me, but even if you quadruple the number it’s still not a significant portion of the golf industry.”
“…in the grand scheme, fussing and fighting over the manufacturing world’s needs over the greater good seems short-sighted given the course industry and its 2 million or so domestic jobs. A healthy golf industry is good for all, but giving disproportionate attention and weight to the view of one constituting such a small portion of the overall financial picture, seems unwise.”
6. Pros on first time playing with Tiger

Excellent roundup of accounts from Tiger’s contemporaries regarding the first time they teed it up with the 15-time major champion.

“ADAM SCOTT: “I had just decided to turn pro in 2000 and got Butch Harmon’s blessing to do that because he was coaching me, and of course Tiger, at the time. We talked about it and he felt strongly that I should go and play in Europe first and gain some experience. A week or so before the U.S. Open, I was in Las Vegas and Tiger was stopping in on the Sunday before heading to Pebble Beach. Butch said to me on Saturday, ‘Tiger is coming in and if he goes and plays, you can play with him.’ So I was nervous, of course.”
  • “We went out and played and we had a match, and I was maybe 1-down through the turn at Rio Secco, and then Tiger stepped it up and went birdie, birdie, birdie and had an eagle. He closed me out on the 14th and shot 63 – with a double bogey at the ninth. I was a bit blown away by what I saw. It was quite windy and I thought I played quite well. I probably shot even par and I was nine off the pace. I made a throwaway comment to Butch, something like, ‘Maybe I should reconsider turning pro.’ The only thing that made me feel good was he won the U.S. Open by 15 the next week, so I was quite happy to see that no one else really played like that.”
7. Genesis as an invitational 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”The tournament formerly known as the Genesis Open is making its debut this week as the Genesis Invitational, a switch that’s more than simply cosmetic. First, the tangible changes: a reduced field size from 144 to 120; a three-year tour exemption for the winner, rather than the usual two-year pass; and a $1.9 million increase in the purse to $9.3 million, including a $1.674 million winner’s check.”
  • “On a more symbolic note, the Genesis joins the Memorial Tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational as PGA Tour events with “elevated status.” Now Tiger’s tournament, Jack’s tournament and Arnie’s tournament stand above the rest. Sounds about right.”

Full piece.

8. Who could buy in? 
Geoff Shackelford speculates as to the players the PGL is targeting (and if you want to know more about the potential team structure you have read Geoff’s piece)…
  • “And now for the $350 million question, who might be the twelve players targeted as a player-owner offered the chance to purchase a team maximum of 75% (documents use the word purchase, but I was not privy to what this would actually entail for players. Presumably there will not be a high price since they hope to lure players away from major Tours. Or perhaps players will be able to join forces with a rich friend?).”
  • “…Based on the initial list I saw and the description of players to be selected as based on “global profile, personality, marketability and playing potential and/or record,” here would be the most likely candidates. Oh, and don’t rule out an elder statesman, great talker or overall personality like Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington or Ian Poulter to enter the equation. (Els said last week he “loved” the idea.)”
Rickie Fowler
Dustin Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Hideki Matsuyama
Rory McIlroy
Phil Mickelson
Jon Rahm
Justin Rose
Adam Scott
Henrik Stenson
Justin Thomas
Tiger Woods
9. Topgolf Augusta?
Via Damon Cline of the Augusta Chronicle…”Topgolf has released details on its new Augusta entertainment venue, a first-of-its-kind prototype that is expected to be open by the Masters Tournament.”
  • “Craig Kessler, chief operating officer for the Dallas-based company, said the venue under construction at the Village at Riverwatch shopping center will have a mini-golf course, outdoor yard games and fire pits in addition to the company’s signature climate-controlled driving range.”

 

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WGC-Workday Championship Tour Truck Report: New putter for Rory, more AutoFlex experiments

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First and foremost, prayers and love to Tiger Woods and his family.

TaylorMade

Rory McIlroy is going back to an older model putter this week at Concession swapping his Spider X for a TP Juno.

Robert McIntyre AKA “Bobby Mack” put a new TaylorMade Rescue ’21 Hybrid ([email protected]) in the bag with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black Hybrid 100 6.5 TX.

Matthew Wolff put a new TaylorMade (19) UDI in the bag with a Mitsubishi MMT 125TX.

Collin Morikawa was testing SIM2, SIM2 Max hybrids this week with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX shafts.

Dustin Johnson alongside TaylorMade’s Keith Sbarboro was testing SIM2 drivers with Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X, Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 and an LAGP Proto.

Callaway

Jon Rahm made adjustments to his Mavrik Sub Zero 5-wood to optimize launch. The 5-wood has 16.4 degrees of loft and a Black Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8X. The adjustments were to the lie of the club going from 59.8 to 58.9 and weight distribution from 12g Front/6g Back to 10G Front/6g Back. Dialed.

Min Woo Lee put a new Epic Speed ([email protected]) with a Fujikura Ventus Red 7X. Lee also debuted his new logo which is on fire.

Titleist 

Genesis Invitational champion Max Homa tested TSi2 5-woods to give him some options for some of the tee shots at Concession. It’s equipped with a Graphite Design Tour XC 8 TX.

Lanto Griffin swapped into a shorter driver going from 45 to 44.5 in his TSi3 (10). Griffin’s driver has a Project X HZURDUS Smoke Black 70 6.5TX

Justin Thomas put a TSI3 (9) in the bag this week. The new set up is powered by a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF TX

Ping

Cameron Champ switched back into a shorter length Ping G425 LST this week going from 45 to 44.25 inches. The shaft is a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70 6.5 TX (@44.25 , Tip 1.5, D4 SW).

Louis Oosthuizen did something interesting. He had a Ping build him a G425 LST (10.5 @ 9.4, Small -) with the company’s lightweight Alta Slate CB 55 stiff shaft. The 2010 Open Champion was looking for a softer feel with the driver, which isn’t surprising, considering he was seen taking a hard look at Adam Scott’s TSi with an AutoFlex. The whippy lightweight plot thickens…

Ping released a bunch of new putters this week for seeding. Multiple staffers tested them and we will see on Thursday if any go in play.

Cobra

Cobra’s Ben Schomin (and king of the mullets) is doing something to Bryson’s driver—wanted to post this because of the respect for Ben’s hair. Hair aside, Bryson did put a new LAGP Axis Blue 6X in his driver and was also testing new Rad Speed 3 Woods.

Misc/Free Agents

Tommy Fleetwood swapped out his Callaway MD5 Jaws wedges for a set of Titleist Vokey’s (52M, 56M, and 60T) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts.

Adam Scott (Titleist staff) was testing long center shafted Odyssey Two Ball 10.

 

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Interesting photos from WGC-Workday (plus links to all 9 galleries)

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This week, the PGA Tour is at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida, where we were on-site Tuesday and Wednesday to spy some interesting things from the grounds and on the range as players were getting ready to battle for a $10.5 million purse at the WGC-Workday Championship.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Frankin 2-Ball

There is a lot going on with the center-shafted 2-Ball Ten. It has weight plugs epoxied into the sole cavity, a hand-drawn marker line on the alignment discs, and a White Hot OG insert—and did I mention it has a long grip?

Speaking of 2-Ball…

The aforementioned 2-Ball Ten caught the attention of Adam Scott, and he was spotted messing around with it around the putting green.

Iron covers: the new trend?

Before you start thinking Bubba Watson was the trendsetter, it was actually Aaron Rai who has been using iron covers longer. Indeed, he won while using them at the 2020 Scottish Open.

JT’s putter cover flex

JT with the full flex on his fellow players as he has his own “Inspired by” Justin Thomas cover in the bag.

Santa?

Does Santa moonlight as a caddy on the PGA Tour?

Xander: Always working

A few weeks ago it was a Quintic. This week, it’s an iPad on a very clever stand. Xander is always working hard on his putting!

Louis Loves that Callaway wedge

Louis Oosthuizen has been a long-time Ping guy, but the one club he can’t seem to shake is his Callaway PM grind wedge.

A couple of guys talking putters

Collin Morikawa—with his TaylorMade FCG Spider—was spotted talking to Rory McIlroy, who looks to have gone back to a TaylorMade Juno blade putter from his Spider.

Fleetwood hanging onto his TVD Vokey wedge

Tommy Fleetwood has transitioned almost his entire bag to TaylorMade, but a couple of the holdout include a classic Vokey TVD wedge.

More Autoflex testing on tour?

Adam Scott looks to be more than just a fashion influencer out tour. Louis Oosthuizen was spotted talking with Mr. Scott about his Autoflex shaft and even gave it a few wiggles.

DJ testing all kinds of shafts

Look at this action!

As reported last week in the Genesis Invitational Tour Truck Report, DJ was testing a new LA Golf shafts DJ Proto, and this week at the WGC, it looks like the testing continues. He was spotted hitting his tried-and-true Fujikura 661, a Ventus, and the LA Proto. What will go into play Thursday, nobody knows (I mean we will, of course…).

Testing looked to have continued on Wednesday—DJ was rotating through three different drivers on the range, along with some prototype putters on the green.

Laurie Canter with Honma blades

Although not a household name (yet), Laurie Canter is inside the top 100 in the official world golf rankings and has a very interesting bag of clubs—including Ping woods, Honma blades, and both Callaway and Titleist wedges.

New Ping putter line spotted

Ping loves to seemingly randomly drop new putters, and although we don’t have the tech story on these yet, we can conclude that there is some sort of insert technology to go along with some sort of heavy (likely tungsten) heel and toe weights to boost MOI.

Check out all of our galleries below

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Tiger Woods recovering after surgery for multiple leg injuries following single-car accident (Updates)

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Update, 2/26, 8.04 p.m: On Friday evening, Tiger’s team produced a statement on Twitter that said that after being moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Woods received follow-up procedures on his injuries which were successful and that he is now recovering and in good spirits.

@tigerwoods

Update, 2/25, 8:50 p.m.: According to a statement released Thursday, Tiger Woods has been transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles “for continuing orthopedic care and recovery.”

Update: Tiger Woods is currently “awake, responsive and recovering in a hospital room” after undergoing major surgery.

The surgery followed a single-car accident which left Woods with “comminuted open fractures” to both the upper and lower portions of his tibia and fibula in his right leg, as well as damage to the ankle bones.

Per a statement from the Woods camp on his social media sites, Woods’ right leg was stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia, while screws and pins were used to stabilize the bones in the foot and ankle. A surgical release of the muscle covering was also performed to relieve pressure due to swelling and trauma.

Update: On Wednesday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke during a Q&A on Facebook where he confirmed that the incident was an accident and that there was “no evidence of any impairment whatsoever”.

“There was no evidence of any impairment whatsoever. He was lucid, no odor of alcohol, no evidence of any medication, narcotics or anything like that. That was not a concern so no field sobriety test and no drug expert needed to respond. This is what it is – an accident.”

Then asked if Woods could face charges, Villanueva continued: ‘No. A reckless driving charge has a lot of elements to it. This was purely an accident. ‘

In a statement on Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said

“I think that the only thing that really matters now is his well-being, his recovery, his family, the level of support that we provide to him.

When Tiger wants to talk about golf, we’ll talk about golf, but I think right now the entirety of our efforts needs to be around the support. When you’re going to overcome what he needs to overcome, I think the love of all of our players and everybody out here, it’s going to come forward in a big way and across the entire sporting world.

I think he’ll feel that energy and I think that’s what we should all focus on. We’ll all be talking about (the PGA Tour without Woods) at some point down the road, but right now that’s not what we should be talking about.”

GolfWRXers are discussing Tiger’s accident and surgery in the forums.


Tiger Woods was involved in a single-car rollover accident a little after 7 a.m. in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and is undergoing surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after suffering multiple leg injuries, according to reports.

Lt. Michael White of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has since told KCBS-TV in LA that Tiger Woods’ injuries are “non-life-threatening.”

Per the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, the vehicle sustained major damage and Woods was extricated from the site by the L.A. firefighters and paramedics.

In the original L.A. County Sheriff Department statement below, it is said that the jaws of life were used. However, in a media briefing this afternoon the Department told media that this was not the case and that an axe and hand tools were used to pry Tiger Woods from his SUV.

In the same briefing, officials told media that Woods had serious leg injuries and that he was conscious while being removed from car, reiterating that there were “no signs of impairment.”

Here is the original statement:

A spokesman for the L.A. County Fire Department told the L.A. Times that “because of the situation and the way that you found the vehicle, he wasn’t able to open the door and come out. We extricated him, we helped assist him out of the vehicle.” Per the L.A. Times, Woods was removed from the vehicle through the windshield.

In a statement given to Golf Digest, Mark Steinberg disclosed that Woods had sustained multiple leg injuries and is currently in surgery.

“Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”

TaylorMade has issued the following statement after the accident

“We are shocked at the news of Tiger Woods’ accident earlier this morning and are sending our thoughts and prayers to him, his family and his team as they support him through his surgery and recovery.”

Per Golf Digest, Woods remained in California following the Genesis for a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest/GOLFTV. Despite photos surfacing on social media with Woods with David Spade at Rolling Hills Country Club on Monday, he did not hit balls or play any holes.

The report also notes that Tiger “was in good spirits on Monday but did not arrive to the course for the second day of shooting.”

We will continue to update this post as soon as more details emerge.

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